Author Topic: When to sell a car?  (Read 2712 times)

specialkayme

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When to sell a car?
« on: July 18, 2017, 02:08:21 PM »
Just wondering what the general consensus is on when to get rid of a car and make a modest upgrade.

I have a 2003 Ranger that I use in my business. I don't put many miles on it. But its at 176k miles and is RUSTED TO CRUD. Things are starting to go on it (shocks replaced, rotors replaced, exhaust rattles like a maraca, bed is patched with bondo), and it struggles to pull a trailer with 3k lbs on it, but engine/transmission is otherwise sound. I wobble between "drive it till it explodes" and "sell it for $2-3k and buy a late 90's-early 00's F150 with slightly less miles for $5k"

So when do you decide to let a car go? When it won't move anymore (and you have to scrap it)? Or when it makes more economic sense to sell it for something to use toward the purchase of a different car?

SwordGuy

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Re: When to sell a car?
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2017, 04:11:41 PM »
I now sell them when they are dead, dead, dead.

If I can get the courtesy trade-in from the dealer, I didn't drive it long enough.

Every month I'm not driving a new car is another month I'm not wearing the new one out.

I don't know how to market-time car deaths any better than the stock market!

oneday

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Re: When to sell a car?
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2017, 06:04:30 PM »
My method is to gauge if the car still does its job.  To me, that job is to get me to work & back without breaking down.

Last couple cars have been Toyotas or Hondas, so they last a long time, based on reputation.  So I am willing to keep a more reliable car longer, because it will likely do its job for a longer time.

I also base my decision on how many and what kind of repairs the car has had while I owned it, and anything I can learn about the time before I owned it.  If I feel a car is unreliable based on the types of repairs, then I will get rid of it sooner.  Alternatively, if I know that once X repair is done, it will now be good for Y years/miles, then I want to get the most out of that repair & that will factor into how much longer I feel I can keep it.

It's tough, because there is an emotional component, too.  My cousin had an SUV she really loved, but it was having major mechanical issues.  They were eventually fixed for beucoup bucks, but I urged her to sell due to the nature of the problems.  Sure enough, the thing is a brick in her driveway now.  But she loved it so much it clouded her judgment.

It kind of sounds like your Ranger isn't doing the job of towing too well anymore...how much do you tow these heavy loads?  Does it do what you need otherwise? 176K miles is kind of a lot, but I'm not really into trucks so don't know if that's really the end if its lifespan.

specialkayme

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Re: When to sell a car?
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2017, 07:23:39 PM »
On the "rusted to crud" part: - I was crunched for time so took it to get an oil change about 6 months back. They told me they had to be very careful replacing the oil, as there was "considerable rust" and they were afraid of breaking something on accident. I even had a sway bar link rust through and break (although fixed now).

On the trailer aspect - I only pull a trailer 3 times a year. The rest of the time I can get away with only using the bed. Although I get concerned about getting stranded on the side of a mountain in western NC (out of cell phone coverage) on those occasions that I do pull a trailer.

In my particular situation, on a "cents per mile" basis I'm coming up with it as about a wash:
Option 1 - drive my Ranger till it blows. With babying, I might be able to get another 24k miles out of it. When it blows, sell it for scrap ($100) and buy a $6k truck that I can get 50k miles out of.
Total miles driven - 74k; Total cost - $5,900 = 7.97 cents per mile

Option 2 - sell the Ranger now for maybe $2,000. Use it toward the purchase of a $6k truck that I can get 50k miles out of.
Total miles driven - 50k; Total cost - $4,000 = 8.00 cents per mile

If the Ranger dies before I can put another 24k miles on it, option 2 is better. But sometimes the devil you know is better than the devil you don't, and there's no guarantee I can get 50k miles out of a new truck for $6k. But I have a tendency to analyze things to death.

oneday

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Re: When to sell a car?
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2017, 08:38:45 PM »
"concerned about getting stranded on the side of a mountain in western NC (out of cell phone coverage) on those occasions that I do pull a trailer"

plus

"on a cents per mile basis I'm coming up with it as about a wash"

would equal a new vehicle to me.

But maybe don't pull a trailer through NC until you've had the new truck for a few months, as a nod to "the devil you don't know".

ChpBstrd

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Re: When to sell a car?
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2017, 09:41:19 PM »
You are lucky to have the luxury of some indeterminate amount of time. The old truck isn't yet sitting somewhere with the transmission ground to dust or a head gasket blown out. Your business is not disrupted from making money. You are not desperate. However, you could become desperate tomorrow morning when it throws a rod. Then you'd have to buy whatever is currently on Craigslist within a very short radius, and you'd probably have to pay market value or more. You would have little negotiation leverage with your annoyed friend sitting there hoping you don't ask for yet another ride to look at a car.

It's in your interest to start shopping now, with a wide radius, for the truck you'll get the next 50k out of. You might shop for the next full year, and you might go out to look at a half dozen duds, but you'll eventually find exactly what you're looking for at the price you're happy to pay. This will be a much better deal than you can find next week.

So the answer is, sell your old truck AFTER you've found a great deal on its replacement. But get to work shopping NOW.

oneday

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Re: When to sell a car?
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2017, 11:07:11 PM »
You are lucky to have the luxury of some indeterminate amount of time. The old truck isn't yet sitting somewhere with the transmission ground to dust or a head gasket blown out. Your business is not disrupted from making money. You are not desperate. However, you could become desperate tomorrow morning when it throws a rod. Then you'd have to buy whatever is currently on Craigslist within a very short radius, and you'd probably have to pay market value or more. You would have little negotiation leverage with your annoyed friend sitting there hoping you don't ask for yet another ride to look at a car.

It's in your interest to start shopping now, with a wide radius, for the truck you'll get the next 50k out of. You might shop for the next full year, and you might go out to look at a half dozen duds, but you'll eventually find exactly what you're looking for at the price you're happy to pay. This will be a much better deal than you can find next week.

So the answer is, sell your old truck AFTER you've found a great deal on its replacement. But get to work shopping NOW.

+1

specialkayme

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Re: When to sell a car?
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2017, 05:01:00 AM »
So the answer is, sell your old truck AFTER you've found a great deal on its replacement. But get to work shopping NOW.

All in all, sound advice.

In August of last year the engine started oddly throttling when I was pulling a trailer up a mountain. I pulled over at a gas station, turned the engine off, filled it up, and realized I had no choice but to continue on anyway. No issues like that again (it may have been low on gas). But that was the first time that "concern" over its performance came to mind. I've been keeping an eye out for a replacement since then, but haven't found a deal.

I'm looking for a reliable truck (preferably a f150) with approx. 150k miles with an extended cab and 4wd for $6k. I have not been successful. Most that have those options are 200k+ miles. If not, they're either a salvage title, or they want $9k for the truck. I've always found craigslist difficult to deal with. The good deals go in an hour (and with working a full time job and my own business, plus a 10 month old, I don't have the option to drop everything to go see a truck) or they aren't good deals.

This spring I started looking at auctions, and participated in one, thinking I could get a decent deal. But to no avail (a 121k mile truck with those options sold for $14k at auction . . . and I was blown away).

Still keeping my eyes open, but at a $9k price tag my cheap a** self is more drawn to driving the Ranger till it turns to dust. But I don't know if I'm being too much of a cheap a**.

oneday

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Re: When to sell a car?
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2017, 08:28:47 AM »
If "your" truck is selling for $9K, then that is the market price, regardless of what Blue Book says.  You may have to adjust your expectations.

specialkayme

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Re: When to sell a car?
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2017, 12:15:24 PM »
Which is the realization I'm coming to. I'm not willing to pay $9k for that kind of truck, so I can either a) increase the mileage requirement to get the price down (which decreases it's life span and usability, which doesn't make sense to me), b) look for a tacoma with similar features (which actually is MORE expensive than an f150, shockingly), or c) look for another ranger with similar features (which I can get, with less miles for about $5k). But if I went with another Ranger I'd probably be better off just driving the rust bucket till it dies (plus I get to learn more about car repairs along the way, heyooooo).

aalferez

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Re: When to sell a car?
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2017, 12:52:00 PM »
Drive it until it dies if you don't have to put a lot of money into it for fixes.
Every month that you drive you are saving money, even on insurance.

ChpBstrd

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Re: When to sell a car?
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2017, 02:57:05 PM »
I had a 2001 Ranger with a 3.0 V6 and manual transmission. I got about 20 mpg from it, which I thought was terrible until I borrowed my dad's 2010 F-150 4x4 crew cab and looked at the mpg meter: 10.9 mpg! Nope Nope Nope.

I sold my Ranger 3 years ago with 140k miles for $2850.

My dad bought his F-150 at an auction for 5500. It was wrecked with a busted front axle and 80k miles. After doing much of the repair work himself using salvage parts, and ignoring the passenger side airbag, he had about $10k in it.

specialkayme

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Re: When to sell a car?
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2017, 03:38:54 PM »
My dad had an F150 that he HATED. Bought new, but had a ton of issues.
But I drove a chevy malibu that I paid for 5 times over after all the repairs (seriously 4 head gaskets replaced), until it died with 134k miles on it. Some cars/trucks are junk, while others go forever.

I love the Ranger, because despite the rust and rough conditions, the engine and transmission don't stop.

With every mile driven, it's likely another 7 cents in my pocket, so I'll probably keep driving it (considering I probably can't sell it for much anyway). While keeping my eyes open for a really good deal on a replacement. If I find a REALLY good deal on an F150, Ranger with a larger engine, or Ram 1500, I may make the move.